The Philadelphia Eagles signed four free agents to reserve/futures contracts, according to an official announcement from the team.
The four players: tight end Adam Zaruba, punter Cameron Johnston, cornerback Elie Bouka, and wide receiver Marquess Wilson.
Again, to be clear, none of these players are being signed to the active 53-man roster. These signings are being made for the 90-man offseason roster.
These guys aren’t likely to end up being significant contributors. They project to be depth players or long shots to even make the team.
With that said, here’s a little information on everybody.
The Eagles signed Zaruba, a former rugby star, prior to training camp this year. He was understandably raw since he’s new to the NFL game. Zaruba had two receptions for 17 yards in the preseason. I thought he showed some nice blocking skills.
The Eagles could be facing changes at tight end this offseason. Brent Celek could end up being a cap casualty and Trey Burton is a free agent. Philadelphia potentially needs depth behind starter Zach Ertz. Zaruba will compete with practice squad member Billy Brown (and others) for a backup job in 2018.
The Eagles originally signed Johnston after the Aussie went unpicked in the 2017 NFL Draft. Johnston couldn’t beat out Donnie Jones but he did have some nice punts. Worth bringing him back to compete with Jones again. Or at least to give the elder punter a breather in practice.
Bouka is a new addition to the Eagles. The Laval, Quebec native attended the University of Calgary and was originally drafted by the Canadian Football League’s Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2016 before signing with the Arizona Cardinals as an undrafted rookie free agent. Injuries then derailed his NFL chances and he ended up back with the Roughriders.
Bouka is an interesting long shot guy. The 25-year-old measures in at 6-1, 205 pound and reportedly runs a 4.3 40-yard dash. He was relatively inexperienced — only playing 1.5 years of college ball — before turning pro. You can read more about him [here].
The Eagles already have a lot of young corners but it can’t hurt to take a flyer on Bouka.
The signing of Wilson was already reported on Tuesday.
Douglas was with the Bears when Wilson had his best season in 2015. The 6-3, 194 pound receiver caught 28 passes that year for 464 yards and one score. He averaged 16.6 yards per reception in his third season before then averaging 17.8 yards per reception in 2016, although on only nine catches. Could be an inexpensive low-tier option for the Eagles.
Wilson was a seventh round pick in Groh’s first year as Chicago’s receiver coach in 2013. Wilson had a career year under Groh in 2015.
Wilson will compete for a fifth/sixth receiver spot.
For a more detailed explanation of a futures contract, read below.
Basically, when a player is signed to “reserve/futures” contracts means they are being signed for the upcoming season even though that season does not officially begin until the official start of the league’s new year as outlined by the NFL. Only players who were not on any NFL team’s active roster when the previous season ended are eligible for these types of contracts. If they were under contract, then they would remain so until the league’s new year starts. Players who were on practice squads at the end of the season are eligible to sign with any team. Hence the reason that you see many practice squad players being signed by their current team for the upcoming year to a reserve/futures contract. That way the team can continue to work with a player they’re familiar with and hopefully get them ready for an eventual roster spot on game day.